RMB Enviromental Labs

Below are a couple of articles from the RMB Website.  You can read more at the following website   rmbel.info

Swimmer's Itch

It finally felt like summer this week! It's that time of year again when swimmer's itch can be a problem.  Today I will talk about what swimmers itch is, and how to avoid it.

Swimmer's itch is when you leave the lake after
swimming and about an hour later some itchy red
spots appear on your body. It can itch for a week or
so and feel uncomfortable. Once you have had
swimmer's itch, your skin may be more sensitive to
it next time.
Swimmer's itch is caused by a tiny parasite that enters your skin from the water. That sounds
repulsive, but the parasite doesn't do any harm to humans besides causing itchy red bumps. Most
of the parasite species that cause swimmer's itch use aquatic snails as intermediate hosts for the
larval parasite stages and bird hosts for the adult parasite. So how do humans fit into this picture?
When the larval parasite leaves the snail, it then needs to enter a bird to survive. We get caught
in the middle when the parasite enters our skin instead of the birds. Some common bird hosts
include common mergansers, mallards, swans, and red-winged blackbirds.
Swimmer's itch is usually most prevalent in shallow downwind areas of lakes. In Detroit Lakes,
it seems to be a problem in mid-June through mid-July. The presence of swimmer's itch doesn't
really have anything do to with water quality or pollution on a lake. You just need the right kind
of snails and the right kind of birds.
So how can you prevent getting swimmers itch? First, avoid feeding water birds by your lake
home. Feeding ducks, geese and swans can propagate swimmer's itch in the area where birds are
being fed. It also makes the birds dependent on humans for survival and makes them a nuisance.
Second, avoid swimming or standing for long periods in shallow water, and when you leave the
water rinse off, towel off, and remove your wet swimsuit. Children are commonly affected by
swimmer's itch because they play in shallow water and tend to be in the water more than adults.
If you swim off a boat or raft in a deeper area of the lake, you will probably have less of a chance
of getting swimmer's itch.
If you think you have swimmer's itch, you can go to the pharmacy and ask the pharmacist for a
recommendation. Usually a topical cream can reduce swelling and itching.
Enjoy the lakes! This article was written and shared by Moriya Rufer at RMB Environmental
Laboratories as part of continuing education for their Lakes Monitoring Program (218-846-1465,
lakes@rmbel.info). To learn more, visit www.rmbel.info.

Minnesota lakes trivia
Have you ever wondered why Minnesota has so many lakes, how these lakes formed, which are
the deepest and what are the most common names? If so, then read on!
First of all, only 2% of the earth's surface is covered by
freshwater. The Great Lakes (Superior, Huron,
Michigan, Ontario and Erie) make up the largest
continuous volume of fresh water on earth, with Lake
Superior covering the greatest area of any purely
freshwater lake.
The Great Lakes and the lakes in Minnesota were formed
as glaciers receded during the last ice age.
Approximately 15,000 years ago to about 9,000 years
ago, glaciers alternately retreated and advanced over the
landscape, carving out holes and leaving behind ice
chunks. As these ice chunks melted in the holes left
behind, lakes were formed. Lakes formed in this way are
called kettle lakes.
The Red River Valley and part of southern Canada was covered by an enormous glacial lake
from 12,000 to 9,000 years ago named Lake Agassiz. Lake Winnipeg and Lake of the Woods
are remnants of Lake Agassiz. As this lake drained into the Minnesota River and the Great
Lakes, it left behind flat land and fertile sediment. That is why the Red River Valley and the
Minnesota River Valley are so productive for farming.
There are only four counties in Minnesota with no natural lakes: Mower, Olmsted, Pipestone,
and Rock. Otter Tail County has 1,048 lakes, which is the most lakes of any county in the
United States. We always say the Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes; however, there are
actually 11,842 lakes in Minnesota that are larger than 10 acres!
The largest lake in Minnesota is Red Lake, which includes both the upper and lower portions.
Second in line is Mille Lacs and third is Leech Lake. The lake with the most shoreline is Lake
Vermillion at 290 miles.
The deepest lake that borders Minnesota is Lake Superior, which reaches a maximum depth of
1,290 feet. The deepest inland natural lake is Lake Saganaga in Cook County (240 feet deep),
The deepest lakes in this area are Six, which reaches 140 feet and Otter Tail, which reaches 120
With all these lakes, it takes quite a lot of names to cover them all. There are a few names that
were used abundantly. Naturally, these are names that describe the shape or the nature of the
lake. There are 115 lakes in Minnesota that contain the word "Long". Coming in second is
"Mud", which is used 92 times. Third most used is "Rice", covering 78 lakes.
Enjoy the lakes! This article was written and shared by Moriya Rufer at RMB Environmental
Laboratories as part of continuing education for their Lakes Monitoring Program (218-846-1465,
lakes@rmbel.info). To learn more, visit www.rmbel.info.
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